Switching to cold water and hang drying eliminates a quarter household energy consumption, saves an average of $400 a year in electricity, and makes your clothes last longer!
With global temperatures on the rise, clothes dryers are going out of fashion, and so is using hot water to do what the sun can do to clothes hanging out to dry.
In 2006, 83 percent of Americans thought a clothes dryer was a necessity, according to the Pew Research Center.
Since then, attitudes about energy-intensive appliances (like washers,dryers and refrigerators) have shifted.
By 2010, only 59 percent of Americans considered a dryer to be a necessity.
After reading the list below, you’ll see why a dryer is not only not a necessity, but a net negative when it comes to economics and the environment.
1. Save energy/the environment. Air-drying clothes can reduce the average household’s carbon footprint by a whopping 2,400 pounds a year.
Energy Star states that almost 90% of the energy consumed by a washing machine goes to heating water.
Switching from hot or warm water to cold water eliminates an average of 1,600 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per household per year, according to the Sierra Club.
In total, these two simple changes would reduce the carbon footprint of the average American household by 3000 pounds per year, eliminating almost a quarter of our total household energy usage.
Considering atmospheric CO2 levels recently passed the point of potentially no return, every bit counts.
2. Save money. In households that do 7 loads of laundry a week (if you have kids, this is a realistic estimate) line drying will save you around $165 a year, at $.45 a load.
Running mostly cold washes with all cold rinses (allowing for one warm load a week and one hot load a month) saves around $215 per year.
That’s a $380 savings per year by making two simple changes, not to mention the initial cost of a dryer.
3. Save your clothes. Every time you empty the lint trap, you have evidence that your wardrobe is literally wearing away. Hang drying your clothes protects them from the wear and tear of the dryer and makes them last longer, saving more money.
Hot water is also hard on clothes. If you’re worried about how to disinfect them without it, see reason # 5.
4. Freshen and deodorize. Fresh air is more effective and less toxic than dryer sheets when it comes to removing odors and keeping clothes smelling fresh. And it’s free.
5. Whiten, disinfect. There is nothing like the sun’s ultra violet rays to whiten whites and remove stains. For this reason, you might want to hang dark colors in the shade.
UV rays also disinfect whatever microbes might be lurking in towels, sheets, cloth diapers, old gym socks, etc.
6. Humidify the house in the winter. Too cold to hang dry outside? Get some indoor drying racks and let wet clothes humidify the house as the heater dries them out:
Low humidity can contribute to dry nasal passages which welcome cold and flu viruses.
7. Prevent fires. You might not think of the dryer as dangerous, but they are responsible for 15,000 house fires per year, according to FEMA. Hang drying eliminates this risk.